As COVID-19 Spreads in the Bay Area, Red-Tier Safety Requirements Return in Contra Costa
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
In response to evidence that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in Contra Costa, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today moved the county back into the red tier of its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, restoring more safety requirements to slow the virus and save lives.
The average daily number of new, confirmed COVID-19 is on the rise in Contra Costa, and across the Bay Area and the U.S. Health officials urge county residents to consider how they are protecting themselves and their families from the virus, and what they can do to make the holiday season safer.
"The most critical way to protect against COVID-19 is to wear a face covering whenever you are near people who do not live with you, and whenever you go in a building that is not your home," said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa Health Officer. "Face coverings help prevent people who do not know they are infected from spreading the virus to others. My mask protects you. Your mask protects me. Masks also provide some direct protection for the wearer."
Most new COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa are spread within the home, with an infected member of a household passing the virus to people with whom they live. Face coverings in public reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 into the home, where people usually do not mask or practice physical distancing.
Data from Contra Costa show that the average daily number of newly identified COVID-19 infections has risen steadily since the county entered the orange tier of the state's plan on October 27.
On Tuesday, the 7-day average, per-capita number of new cases (the "adjusted case rate") was 5.3 in Contra Costa, higher than permitted for counties in the orange tier for a second consecutive week. That triggered the county's shift back into the more restrictive red tier, effective today.
Other data show an alarming rise in local cases. On Nov. 8, for example, there were 46 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Contra Costa – the highest one-day total since September.
In response to the data, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) issued a local health order last week that restored red-tier safety restrictions for a number of businesses and activities, though the county remained in the orange tier at the time.
Those changes remain in place today, including requirements for reduced occupancy during indoor worship services and for indoor dining and movie theaters, and the closure of bars that do not serve meals with alcohol. Cardrooms are required to operate outdoors only.
The state's action today adds these additional requirements, effective starting Friday, Nov. 13 in Contra Costa:
- Retail stores that operate indoors must scale back their maximum occupancy to 50%. Grocery stores can operate at full capacity.
- Indoor shopping malls must reduce their occupancy to 50% and reduce the occupancy of food courts to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
- Office workspaces must operate remotely.
- Higher education institutions must keep indoor lectures and student gatherings to 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
- Gyms and fitness centers must scale back their indoor occupancies to 10%.
- Communal indoor pools must close.
- Indoor family entertainment centers, such as bowling alleys, must close their indoor operations. Amusement parks cannot operate.
- Most live outdoor theatrical, musical or artistic performances are prohibited.
The tier change does not affect the ability of schools to reopen for in-person instruction, following state and local health guidelines. Outdoor playgrounds may also remain open.
Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for local information about COVID-19. For questions about details of state or local health orders in Contra Costa County, visit our online FAQ or call 1-844-729-8410.
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